30 Years After Winning U.S. Open Cup, El Farolito Bow Out 3-1 to Oakland Roots

By Kevin V. Nguyen/NPSL.com

While El Farolito have remained a constant in the Bay Area since 1985, they have found themselves fending off a wave of soccer startups in recent times.  In the first round of the U.S. Open Cup, there was the red-hot International SF, which they dispatched 3-0. 

But in the second round, they squared off against the Oakland Roots – a USL side that has emerged as one of its city’s flagship sports brands – and weren’t so lucky. 

“I told our guys they are only humans on the other side, not monsters,” said El Farolito head coach Santiago Lopez before his side eventually lost 3-1. “But unfortunately [Oakland] took advantage of their first opportunities very quickly.” 

To the passerby, the final scoreline might indicate a lopsided performance, but El Farolito actually acquitted themselves well against the professional side.  They nearly scored the first goal of the game in the 8th minute and eventually created roughly the same number of chances as Oakland.

But the game was lost within a 15-minute span in the first half when the Roots scored three goals in quick succession, kickstarted by a set-piece goal finished by Johnny Rodriguez.

“We should’ve really stopped that first goal, especially since we were all back,” Lopez said. “That gave them momentum and it was tough to pick ourselves up from that.” 

Within this span, Oakland was able to press El Farolito into multiple turnovers.  The NPSL side, which normally enjoys playing out of the back during their regular competitions, was relegated to booting the ball long. 

Two more goals from Roots fullback Wolfgang Prentice in the 16th and 24th effectively iced the game until El Farolito finally managed to settle the game down after the 30th minute. 

Right before the halftime whistle blew, El Farolito caught a break when midfielder Ricardo Delgado pulled a goal back with a penalty. 

Sensing a moment to change the game like he did against International, Lopez brought on the speedy Colombian winger John Quinones as an impact substitute in the second half. 

As a result, the second half played out the opposite of the first – El Farolito pressed while Oakland retreated and Quinones was at the center of it all.  In the 85th minute, his best chance was a shot that ricocheted off the top bar. 

“After halftime, we went in with the mindset of just being 2-0 down,” Lopez said. “We came out playing with the right mentality.  But unfortunately, the chances just didn’t fall.”

The end of El Farolito’s cup run coincides with the 30th anniversary of the club’s historic win of the tournament back in 1993.  While much of the soccer landscape has changed since then, Lopez said the tournament will remain a priority as long as he is in charge. 

“This result only motivates us to keep on working,” he said after the final whistle. “We’re obviously going to shift our focus back to the NPSL, but we want to qualify for this tournament again next year.” 

Photo Credit: Kevin V. Nguyen/NPSL.com


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